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Lara Grobler, Suzanne Ferreira and Elmarie Terblanche

The Paralympic Games have undergone many changes since their inception in 1960, one being the advances made in running-specific prostheses (RSPs) for track athletes with lower-limb amputations.

Purpose:

To investigate the sprinting-performance changes in athletes with lower-limb amputations since 1992 to assess whether the influence of developments in RSP technology is evident.

Methods:

The results of the Olympic and Paralympic Games ranging between 1992 and 2012 for the 100-m and 200-m were collected, and performance trends, percentage change in performance, and competition density (CD) were calculated.

Results:

The results indicate that the greatest performance increases were seen in athletes with lower-limb amputations (T42 = 26%, T44 = 14%). These performance improvements were greater than for Olympic athletes (<3%), as well as Paralympic athletes from other selected classes (<10%). The T42 and T44 classes also showed the lowest CD values.

Discussion:

These results suggest that although there is an overall trend for improved Paralympic sprint performances, RSP technology has played a noteworthy role in the progression of performances of athletes with amputations. It is also hypothesized that the difference in the performance improvements between the T42 and T44 classes is due to the level of disability and therefore the extent to which technology is required to enable locomotion.

Conclusion:

It is evident that RSP technology has played a significant role in the progression of performances in athletes with lower-limb amputations.

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Paul A. Solberg, Will G. Hopkins, Gøran Paulsen and Thomas A. Haugen

, respectively; change scores spanning 4 or more years were not included. Individual performance trends for each athlete were generated by fitting a quadratic curve separately to each athlete’s performance and age data using a linear modeling procedure (Proc Mixed) in the statistical analysis system (University

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Thomas A. Haugen, Paul A. Solberg, Carl Foster, Ricardo Morán-Navarro, Felix Breitschädel and Will G. Hopkins

score was divided by 2 or 3 respectively; change scores spanning 4 or more years were not included. Individual performance trends for each athlete were generated by fitting a quadratic curve separately to each athlete’s performance and age data using a linear modeling procedure (PROC MIXED) in the

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Matthias O. Wagner, E. Kipling Webster and Dale A. Ulrich

The Test of Gross Motor Development, 3rd Edition (TGMD-3) is a process-oriented fundamental movement skill assessment to examine the movement patterns displayed by children between the ages of 3 and 10 years. Within this paper, results of a pilot study on the reliability, validity, and measurement invariance across gender of the TGMD-3 (German translation) are presented. In total, performances of 189 typically developing children (99 boys, 90 girls, 56 kindergarten children, 133 elementary school children, M age = 7.15 ± 2.02 years) are analyzed. Results provide preliminary evidence for test-retest, interrater and intrarater reliability, internal consistency, age- and gender- specific performance trends, factorial validity, measurement invariance across gender, divergent validity, and ball skill–related concurrent and predictive validity of the TGMD-3 (German translation). Subsequent research should be focused on a verification of the present findings on a representative database to foster the application of the TGMD-3 (German translation) in different settings.

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Jill M. Slade, Hector De Los Santos-Posadas and M. Elaine Cress

This study examined the change in 15K running performance for master runners over 21 years (1978–1998). Official times were collected for 60 male runners from the same running event. Trends in running performance were analyzed with several models (linear, polynomial, and segmented-line). A self-report questionnaire was used to quantify training and to characterize runners. Peak age of running performance was indirectly estimated at 33 years using a second-degree polynomial. The performance trend was also associated with an inflection point at age 41 directly estimated from a nonlinear, segmented, mixed-effects model (95% confidence interval: 38.77–42.44). After age 41, master runners ran nearly 1 min slower each year. Besides age, other parameters that influenced performance over time included type of training (interval training) and body weight. These data might be among the first to describe the trend in running performance for a group of master athletes, most of whom were noncompetitive runners.

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Julia Weber and Natalie Barker-Ruchti

During the 1970s, a new corporal and aesthetic standard emerged in women’s artistic gymnastics. No longer was grace and elegance the main feature, but acrobatic and somewhat robotic performances. These exercises were increasingly performed by highly trained and sexually immature girls. The Western audience was fascinated by the athletic and innocent-looking gymnasts. The emerging corporality and performance trend combined youthfulness und slimness with physical fitness and muscular tone, a combination that reflected the idealized woman of the 1970s. Sports photographs played a key role in distributing the “new” ideal of femininity. In this article, we consider how gymnasts’ performances of the 1970s were visualized by examining a sample of professional sports photographs. We demonstrate how sports photographs construct and establish gender and body standards through their visual construction of gendered and de-gendered gymnastics performances.

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Keith B. Painter, Gregory G. Haff, Mike W. Ramsey, Jeff McBride, Travis Triplett, William A. Sands, Hugh S. Lamont, Margaret E. Stone and Michael H. Stone

Recently, the comparison of “periodized” strength training methods has been a focus of both exercise and sport science. Daily undulating periodization (DUP), using daily alterations in repetitions, has been developed and touted as a superior method of training, while block forms of programming for periodization have been questioned. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare block to DUP in Division I track and field athletes. Thirty-one athletes were assigned to either a 10-wk block or DUP training group in which sex, year, and event were matched. Over the course of the study, there were 4 testing sessions, which were used to evaluate a variety of strength characteristics. Although performance trends favored the block group for strength and rate of force development, no statistically significant differences were found between the 2 training groups. However, statistically different (P ≤ .05) values were found for estimated volume of work (volume load) and the amount of improvement per volume load between block and DUP groups. Based on calculated training efficiency scores, these data indicate that a block training model is more efficient than a DUP model in producing strength gains.

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Sian V. Allen, Tom J. Vandenbogaerde and Will G. Hopkins

Many national sporting organizations recruit talented athletes to well-resourced centralized training squads to improve their performance.

Purpose:

To develop a method to monitor performance progression of swimming squads and to use this method to assess the progression of New Zealand’s centralized elite swimming squad.

Methods:

Best annual long-course competition times of all New Zealand swimmers with at least 3 y of performances in an event between 2002 and 2013 were downloaded from takeyourmarks.com (~281,000 times from ~8500 swimmers). A mixed linear model accounting for event, age, club, year, and elite-squad membership produced estimates of mean annual performance for 175 swim clubs and mean estimates of the deviation of swimmers’ performances from their individual quadratic trajectories after they joined the elite squad. Effects were evaluated using magnitude-based inferences, with a smallest important improvement in swim time of –0.24%.

Results:

Before 2009, effects of elite-squad membership were mostly unclear and trivial to small in magnitude. Thereafter, both sexes showed clear additional performance enhancements, increasing from large in 2009 (males –1.4% ± 0.8%, females –1.5% ± 0.8%; mean ± 90% confidence limits) to extremely large in 2013 (males –6.8% ± 1.7%, females –9.8% ± 2.9%). Some clubs also showed clear performance trends during the 11-y period.

Conclusions:

Our method of quantifying deviations from individual trends in competition performance with a mixed model showed that Swimming New Zealand’s centralization strategy took several years to produce substantial performance effects. The method may also be useful for evaluating performance-enhancement strategies introduced at national or club level in other sports.

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Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, Stefania Di Gangi and Beat Knechtle

. , Rosemann , T. , & Rust , C.A. ( 2016 ). Performance trends in master freestyle swimmers aged 25–89 years at the FINA World Championships from 1986 to 2014 . Age (Dordrecht), 38 ( 1 ), 18 . doi:10.1007/s11357-016-9880-7 10.1007/s11357-016-9880-7 Knechtle , B. , Nikolaidis , P.T. , Onywera , V

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Claire Blennerhassett, Lars R. McNaughton, Lorcan Cronin and S. Andy Sparks

. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.12.1.47 10.1123/ijsnem.12.1.47 Knechtle , B. , Knechtle , P. , & Lepers , R. ( 2010 ). Participation and performance trends in ultra-triathlons from 1985 to 2009 . Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21 ( 6 ), e82 – e90 . PubMed ID: 20626703 doi:10